Die Bodenkultur - Journal for Land Management, Food and Environment

W. Opitz v. Boberfeld, K. Wöhler und H. Laser:

Importance of Fungi Infections for Quality of Herbage from Autumn and Winter Grazed Pastures Depending on Plant Community, Weather and Site Conditions


When the vegetation period is over, the majority of plant tissue is dead and exposed to decomposition by fungi and other micro organisms. It is possible to use residual herbage for winter grazing provided that the decrease of biomass and forage quality is limited. The requirements of undemanding ruminants, e.g. in year-round grazing systems, can be fulfilled until the end of the year by an adequate pasture management. Depending on pre-utilization and year, DM yield can exceed 20 dt ha-1. The energy concentration is negatively correlated with the Ergosterol concentration. Ergosterol is an indicator for fungi infections. The concentrations are varying considerably depending on weather and site conditions, but no general differences are evident between Lolio-Cynosuretum and Festuco-Cynosuretum plant communities.

Sporadically, ochratoxine A can be found in swards of both communities, whereas zearalenone only occurs in Lolio-Cynosuretum swards. However, the Ergosterol concentration is not a suitable measure to predict the extent of mycotoxin contaminations in herbage.

Key words: Winter grazing, Ergosterol, Yield, Energy value, Mycotoxins.